Dva’s back! I’ve written a lot about themin the past. They’re a weird little Czech duo that I’m really starting to like. Their quirkiness is something that most people would find quite polarizing, but I find their sound refreshingly unique. And their most recent album Nipomo shows a more full-bodied, evolved sound. They’re actually performing tonight at Drom, but I was lazy busy and skipped it.
I don’t think I listen to any other bands from the Czech Republic, so I have no idea what the music scene over there is like, but Dva sounds more like a neo-pico pop refugee. Weirdly enough, the fact that they’re not Japanese is probably the strangest thing about them. Huh.
I figured I was long overdue for a new mix (plus, I keep losing followers every time I post something non-music related). Unfortunately there’s no cohesive theme here; it’s basically just a random assortment of crap I’ve been listening to. What’s inside:
Troller “__” (This is just to avoid the Soundcloud copyright bots.)
Illum Sphere “Embryonic (featuring Shadowbox)”
Cibo Matto “Hotel Valentine” (I’ll write more about this later.)
Orchestra of Spheres “Numbers” (I meant to make an individual post about them but slacked off. This is actually a pretty impressive debut, and this track is catchy as hell.)
The process of cloaking characters in unlikable flaws to heighten their complexity only works when the character still comes across as human, compelling. Too often newbie writers in their haste to create unique, fully-dimensional characters overdo it. They throw in a mental illness, make a character overly narcissistic, and then when people complain that the character is unlikable the writer stands back and says, “Yeah, but isn’t that the point?” But it’s not. The goal should be to write characters that come across as real. Of course they’ll be flawed and they won’t be perfect, but they should be more than walking symbols, and that’s where Girls gets it wrong. The unlikable characters of Girls are more like shells, empty vessels cloaked in their complexity but missing their souls. More…
I told a tiny fib in this piece. My professor said my character was “a complete psychopath,” not “unlikable.” Although I’m sure she would have said that too.
I remember reading a lot about pornography when I was studying film. Back in the days. And I was really fascinated about the similarities between documentary and pornography, because it presents itself as this reality. Because it’s really happening. The sex is actual sex. This is, of course, hardcore pornography I’m talking about. And I was just fascinated with the realness of it. How real is it when it’s filmed and styled and oiled?
So I’ve always been quite fascinated with that level of reality, I guess. Which is a very sort of gray area of reality. And now with reality TV, which is something I have been avoiding, but started watching when I was doing this performance project. That was the start of this: I kind of got into trying to understand that reality level a little bit, as well. This album is playing different interpretations or manipulations, or using the concept of the real in visual culture and genres of TV and visuals, that take a certain level of reality for granted. It’s very manipulative. And also a lot about young women exposing their bodies. And exposing, maybe, their innocence. Some type of innocence.
Japanese dream pop artist Sapphire Slows (real name Kinuko Hiramatsu) is quickly becoming the face of the increasingly westernized bedroom pop scene in Tokyo. Her album Allegoria was surprisingly one of my favorite albums of 2013, and her trademark sound of silky vocals and icy electro puts her in the same vein as similar artists like Peaking Lights and Blue Hawaii. This performance video of track “Allegoria,” jointly produced by Dazed Digital and All Saints,” is a part of Dazed’s “New Music Cities” series that showcases upcoming artists in cities around the globe. You can see the documentary in its entirely on All Saint’s website. The full video includes other Toky0-based artists like Emufucka and Nisennenmondai.
And just when I thought the bedroom pop scene was dead for good…
Vanilla Ice is selling Kraft macaroni and cheese now. The dudes of Full House are selling Greek yogurt. Boyz II Men recently made a cameo on How I Met Your Mother. This year’s Super Bowl featured, of all people, Flea. We are having, in other words, a moment of ’90s nostalgia, one occasioned in part by millennials (or The Youths or Those Kids or whatever you want to call them) who are aging into adulthood and therefore eager to relive their childhoods.
Nostalgia, the copious literature on it suggests, comes in two basic forms. One is organic, the kind that washes over you when you see an old picture of yourself and your cousins, aged 7 and 9 and 10, giggling maniacally while innertubing on Lake Michigan. The kind that emergences unexpectedly, as a kind of pleasant pang—the stuff of sudden songs and serendipitous scents and sour-sweet Madeleines.
The other form—the form that may well feel most familiar to us at this point—is a media product. It’s the re-introduction of Uncle Joey or Dawson’s Creek'sJoey or Blossom's Joey, appropriated to arouse a vague sense that we have lost something as we’ve moved, inexorably, into our futures. This form of nostalgia is usually invoked, in one way or another, to sell us stuff. And you could, because of that, dismiss its validity (fauxstalgia?). But it will live on, inevitably, because media producers know exactly what advertisers have long understood: that nostalgia, like sex, sells.
Wow, as someone who has always been cynical about ’90s nostalgia, I never noticed the manipulative nature the media was using it for. I wonder what ‘00 nostalgia would look like? "Don’t you miss flared jeans??"
French-Belgian trio Antena never received proper praise for their 1982 classic Camino del Sol. In fact, the album was considered a failure when it was originally released and was blamed for bankrupting their label. But thanks to recent reissues and compilations, the album is now considered a classic. Both Boomkat and Fact Mag list this album as one of their favorite ’80s albums, and I think I might have to add it to mine as well. Full of eclectic bossa nova and “electro samba,” the album was clearly a victim of being too ahead of its time. The 2013 reissue includes a bonus song (the weirdly produced cover of “The Boy From Ipanema”) and an extra disc of live recordings.
While we’re on the subject of love today, I want to recommend my all-time favorite romance film, although I’m using the word “romance” lightly. Oasis is a film about unconventional love, a topic the film industry doesn’t always handle too well. The film, directed by Chang-dong Lee, is about two people, one mentally handicapped, the other physically handicapped, that fall in love and try to build a relationship together despite the backlash from their families. The entire film is free to stream online.
'Tis the Season for Sarcastic, Passive Aggressive Valentine's Day Cards Look at me! I hate this holiday, can’t you tell? Can’t you tell from my clever sarcasm and thinly veiled sense of disgust that’s as subtle as an approaching subway train?? Watch me as I profit from the very thing I hate. And I’m the first person to ever do this. No one has ever thought to do this except me. Oh, and I accept payments through PayPal, thank you.
(…a.k.a. I’m sick of running into these things every day on Behance/Tumblr.)
Hello, Tiffany here. This site used to exist in the dark corners of Wordpress but was moved to the sunnier side of Tumblr in 2011. Here you'll find sporadic musings about popular culture, along with the occasional Polar Bear's Cafe gif (because why not?). Bloggin' since 2003!